Best Fishing In Alaska In August – When it comes to fishing, good timing is one of the best factors for success. Even in Alaska – where the fishing opportunities are among the best in the world – it pays to be in the right place at the right time.
For some species, peak seasons only last a few weeks out of the year, so getting it right can make or break your Alaskan fishing trip. Fortunately, the right information can help you have the best fishing experience and ensure you don’t leave empty-handed.
Best Fishing In Alaska In August
The best time to go fishing in Alaska is during the summer months. Peaks are June, July and August. In particular, late July is a good season for many species of salmon. However, there are opportunities throughout the year because different species appear at different times.
August Fishing In Alaska
Tip: Read our Alaska guide for July and August, and if you’re planning to visit in the summer months, read our Alaska tips for May.
The best time to fish for king salmon in Alaska is from May to July. During these months, the highest numbers occur on the Kenai River in mid-July and on the Kasilof River in early June.
As the largest species of salmon in the Pacific, the king salmon is one of the most impressive fish to catch in Alaska. Typically, individuals weigh between 15 and 60 pounds, with the largest in the Kenai River — site of the world record 97.25-pound king salmon caught in 1985. Salmon in the Kenai weigh an average of 35 pounds, although you’re unlikely to find a king this big. Even so, individuals exceeding 80-pounds are caught every year.
King salmon can be identified by their silver sides and blue-green heads, and their upper bodies are covered in black spots. They usually spend 3 or 4 years at sea, mostly feeding on small fish, before returning to their native rivers to breed.
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Difficulty: Named for its exceptional size and powerful fighting ability, the king salmon is a challenging fish to land. They can be caught by traditional and fly-fishing methods, but are generally difficult to hook, which is why more than two are rarely caught in a day.
Where to fish: The three main areas for catching king salmon in Alaska are the Kenai, Kasilof, and Nushagak rivers. The Kenai River is home to the largest population and one of the easiest rivers to access, running parallel to the Sterling Highway for large areas. Like the Kenai, the Kasilof River harbors two species of king salmon and offers excellent fishing opportunities for this species. It is less suitable for motorboats, however, as it is small and in places very shallow.
The Nushaqak River is the furthest of the three and lies on the western side of Bristol Bay. As a result, it offers calmer fishing conditions and sees bigger king salmon runs than most other areas, with up to 100,000 visitors in some years.
Pink salmon can be caught in Alaska from July to August. Mid-August is the best time to see a peak in numbers during this period, especially in even years.
Planning Your Fishing Trip & Best Fishing In Alaska
Pink salmon are one of the smallest salmon species found in Alaska. They are nicknamed “Humpies” due to the characteristic dorsal hump of the males during the spawning season. They are usually silvery-gray in color, and some have a pinkish tint to their bodies. Most pink salmon weigh between 3 and 6 pounds, although larger individuals can sometimes exceed 10 pounds.
Despite their small size, pink salmon are very abundant in Alaska, making them a popular target for anglers. They move into freshwater systems in incredibly large numbers, providing the opportunity to catch more than 100 in a day when conditions are right. Pink salmon spawn every two years – a reproductive pattern that usually coincides with years – making it a great time to fish.
Problem: Although smaller than other salmon species, pink salmon are aggressive fish and often fight. However, their relative lack of strength makes them easy to capture. Spin and fly fishing are effective methods of landing pink salmon.
Where to Catch: Pink salmon are found throughout Alaska and in most fishable rivers. The Kenai River is usually the best place to go – it offers incredible scenery and access – however, the Kasilof River and areas around Kodiak Island also see large numbers of pink salmon. Although the latter is more remote, the island is popular with anglers and has a good road network for easy movement between the various bodies of water.
Kvichak River Fishing
July through September are the best months to fish for silver salmon in Alaska. In particular, mid-August is the peak of silver salmon numbers.
Silver salmon are known for their acrobatic behavior that delights fish. They are also known as coho salmon, but get their alternate name from the silvery color of their scales. They can be seen with blue-green heads and dark spots on the back or bright red sides. Most silver salmon weigh about 10 pounds when fully grown, although larger individuals can reach up to 35 pounds.
Silver salmon begin moving into river systems in late June and gradually increase in numbers by August, but remain in river systems until November. They usually school in deep pools in the river that are easily accessible by boats and shore fishermen.
Problem: Silvers aren’t the largest salmon species. However, their skills in the water make them exciting and cunning on land. Eager to chase flies and lures, they spend a few seconds in the air after being caught. Large specimens can be caught using bait.
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Where to fish: The best place to fish for silver salmon in Alaska is Ship Creek in Anchorage. Access to this area is not easy, but a few years ago 250,000 silver salmon were released, making it one of the most attractive game fisheries in the area. Numbers here usually peak in mid-August.
The Kenai River is another place to consider, especially since there are two runs of silver salmon throughout the year. The early run peaks in late July to early August, while the late run begins in September and often produces larger fish. Silver salmon visit Kodiak Island in large numbers, and the Buskin River is one of the best spots. On average, 10,000 silver salmon return here each year.
July through August is the best time to fish for salmon in Alaska. Among these months, late July often sees the highest numbers.
Sockeye, also known as red salmon, change colors significantly during the spawning season with a bright red body and green head. As a result, these fish are easy to spot, and sometimes their flow is so heavy that the water is red. Tens of thousands roam Alaska’s river systems each year, home to the region’s most abundant salmon species. Typically, sockeye salmon weigh between 6 and 10 pounds, with some reaching over 15-pounds.
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Known for their fierce fighting tendencies, sockeye are famous for their meat, which is considered the best salmon meat. Adults spend two or three years in the ocean before breeding in rivers. Being semelparous – like many Pacific salmon – they die after spawning.
Difficulty: Pound for pound, sockeye salmon are the largest salmon species in the world, making them an exciting target. For this reason, they are difficult to take off and easy to wear even for light people. Despite this, saki swim close to shore during their journey, making it relatively easy to catch from shore.
Where to Catch: The Kenai River has the largest salmon game fishery in Alaska, with millions returning to the area each year. The best deals are available from July 10 to 25.
For more remote fishing experiences, the Cuisack River in the Bristol Bay area is another great spot to find sockeye salmon. Kvichak originates from Lake Ilyamna, where an incredible 18.8 million sockeyes returned to spawn in 2017. The upper reaches of the river offer excellent fly fishing conditions, with July being the best month. Similarly, the nearby Alanjak River is another popular spot for sockeye fishing, although access is often difficult.
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Chum salmon can be caught in Alaska from June to August. During this period, numbers usually peak in mid-July.
When the spawning season begins, the plate changes from silvery-grey to olive green, with striped red markings. They are also called dog salmon because of the large teeth that develop over time